Taylor Hall said last night’s 5-2 loss to Vancouver was the first time this pre-season that things didn’t go according to plan for the Oilers. Head Coach Todd McLellan said he wouldn’t give any of his position groups a passing grade for the night. Today’s practice was the team’s first chance to work towards their bounce back.
“We’re trying to define standards and what’s acceptable and unacceptable,” said McLellan. “We have played some good hockey in the exhibition season. We followed it up last night with a game that was, in my opinion, unacceptable in a lot of different areas and that can happen. We’re a team that’s going to learn a lot of lessons as we go. It’s how we respond to them, how we approach the next day, how we as a staff try and structure the day so we can get better. I didn’t think we were at a level we needed to be in a lot of the confined areas of the game and we worked on that today. Yesterday, I was disappointed in the group and today I was proud of the group and it can happen that way. We can have some days where it’s not that good, but we better respond the next day. Hopefully, we got our footing underneath us again and we’re ready to play the proper way in Vancouver tomorrow.”
Is it possible to teach that kind of rebound in the pre-season, or does it take time to develop? Well, bad games are going to happen. McLellan says no matter who you are you have bad games. It’s about knowing what you can live with and what needs to be addressed. That may take time to cultivate, but today was a start.
“I think defining the standards is what we’re trying to do. What’s acceptable and what isn’t? We’re going to have bad games,” said McLellan. “I know Chicago has won three Stanley Cups in the last six years and they’ve had bad games too. It’s what you do as a team after to get better and how you accept that. We spent good time on video today, pointing out situations, not necessarily systems but just situations, execution situations. Then we parlayed that into time on the ice. When they left (practice) they were tired.”